Creativity in Coaching and Mentoring
I practice creativity for one simple reason: I love it. God gave us the arts as one of his good gifts, and he created me to be creative. It is part of my practice when I mentor and coach other people. Lockdown this year has given me the space to consider creativity more. Here are my humble ponderings.
The Bible teaches that in the beginning, there was only God (Gen 1:1). And by speaking, he created everything in our world. Then, he formed man out of the dust of the earth. He created woman from Adam’s rib. We see his creativity every time we marvel at a breathtakingly beautiful landscape or when we consider the intricate details that he puts into each sunset that he paints. Or when we listen to the orchestra of a thunderstorm.
God is a creator. And we, being made in his image, have a creative side. We have a desire to make something new and beautiful. We envision a picture and paint it. We hear a song in our heads and we write it down. We think of something beautiful and we desire to create it. The beauty of our art gives the world glimpses of our Creator.
While our creativity results from being created in God’s image, it also reminds us that we are not God. God created everything ex nihilo, which means “out of nothing.” When God began his creative process, there was no canvas around. There was no precedent for creativity, no rules to follow, no mediums to use. God spoke, and through his speaking, created everything. From nothingness came wonder.
And none of us, no matter how good of an artist we are, can mimic God in that way. Painters must have paintbrushes and paints. Songwriters must have musical instruments to play their music. Photographers need a camera. Poets and writers need paper or a laptop.
While our creativity echoes God’s creativity, it also shows us that we are not him.
I love art. I see others are mesmerized by the minute details of a beautiful painting. We can all be enraptured by the melodious sounds that emanate from the symphony. We are captivated by the actor who delivers every word with emotion and precision.
And because this love for art captivates people, what better way is there to share God’s story and to help others to recognise God’s story in their own lives? In today’s world, so many people build walls to keep God out. The beauty of art is that it beckons people to let down those walls. C.S. Lewis’s Narnia series is a good example. I love watching and re-reading this books, especially in this Advent season. It paints a picture of a different storyline that echoes Christ to those who have never heard. The reader falls in love with Narnia, while simultaneously falling in love with the overarching story that it portrays. It prepares hearts for the time when the gospel is proclaimed.
How can you paint the gospel? How does the story of Jesus weave throughout your coaching and mentoring practice? How do you use creativity in your practice?
Our creativity is also something that we can give back to God in worship. The Bible teaches that whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God (1 Cor 10:31). You know what that means, right? Paint for God’s glory. Sing for God’s glory. Act for God’s glory. Write for God’s glory. By doing so, you offer up your worship to the Lord. As a Christian Coach and Mentor it is crucial I give back to God in worship.
This is where our story, the story of those we coach and mentor, and God’s overarching story meet. We can weave the stories together, creator and created, our stories shared to worship the creator. This draws others to explore the story, to be innovative and create something new for the world, to serve the world, to solve difficulties, to give compassion, to build relationships and to build communities. To perceive the world in new ways given by God. The most amazing place it begins is with the world LISTEN. A word I have carried forever, it is when we listen to ourselves, to others and to God, the sparkling moment when creativity ignites and brings joy.
In this season of doing Christmas differently, how might you be creative in bringing joy and comfort to those you mentor? Or, if you wish to explore your creativity, maybe now is time to explore this with a mentor to journey with you.